There is something about mega horsepower that concentrates the mind. When you’re driving something like, say, the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, your head isn’t exactly swimming with random thoughts about the weather — it demands your full and undivided attention, unless you want to be wrapped around a tree like expensive Christmas trinketry. Even in cars like the BMW M5 with ‘just’ 560 horsepower you’re always aware of how quickly things could go wrong if you’re careless.
Surprisingly, however, despite a massive 640bhp the CTS-V doesn’t exactly feel intimidating. Yes, the back squirms sometimes, but it’s decidedly less skittish than the said M5 even during a full-bore standing start. That’s the interesting bit about the CTS-V; in normal everyday application, it doesn’t feel as intimidating as you would expect a car this potent to be. Even on cobbled roads, where grip is at a premium, it tracks straight and true. That’s the good part; however, on the flip side it doesn’t feel as urgent until you fully flatten the throttle pedal.
It rides well too, but the M5 is perhaps a touch more supple on badly paved roads and over speed humps. The cabin is decidedly much better put together than before, although still not on a par with the German offerings. Then again, you have to bear in mind that you pay nearly Dh200,000 less for the CTS-V.
The Cue system (as I pointed out in an earlier report) though much improved, is still hit and miss; those haptic controls are very fidgety, at least for someone as impatient as yours truly.
Other problems? Fuel economy isn’t exactly stellar at 18 litres per 100km, although that’s probably down to my insistence on driving everywhere at full tilt. I bet it is possible to eke out better efficiency, but then that sort of defeats the point of buying a barnstorming super saloon.
Overall, I do like the CTS-V a lot; it has its shortcomings but for Dh325K there isn’t much that comes close in terms of power. More next week.
Unlike many American performance cars, there is no styling for styling’s sake. Every scoop and every bulge serves a purpose and that’s the first sign of a properly engineered vehicle. Equally impressive is the 640-horsepower, 6.2-litre supercharged V8 that comes straight from the mental Corvette Z06.
Highs: Styling, engine
Lows: Haptic feedback
Merely one week into the loan, Cadillac takes the car back for an event, so we’re left with no car for this week. But the brief time spent behind the wheel of the hot 640-horsepower super saloon has us looking forward to the car coming back.
Highs: A week of great fun
Lows: The car has been taken back, albeit briefly